Saturday, July 07, 2007

Happy 7th of July!

A little late with holiday wishes, once again. But - I have an excuse this time. Alternate names of this post might include:

~ I am not an "expert crafter"
~ When crafts go bad
~ How to stress yourself out over a minor holiday

I'm sure many of you were inspired by the July issue of Country Living and its plethora of 4th of July crafts designed by the magazine's staff "expert crafter." I know my pal Cindy made the crepe paper firecrackers from the magazine - anybody else?

I got it in my head that I wanted to make it all - hats, garland, fireworks, the whole she-bang. Lord have mercy - I had no idea how much work this would be! I have been off work since Wednesday, and I feel like I have been working on this display non-stop! This was one of those projects that involved lots of cursing, tossing of items, tipped over glitter jars, glue gun burns, a mess that covered every flat surface in the house and most of the floor, etc.

Let's start with the garland, shall we?

Oh - it looks innocent enough. But let me assure you, there are many more steps than the 4 or 5 included in the magazine. Do you know how hard it is to cut crepe paper with scallop-edged scissors? Or how many times you need to apply glue to make something stick to said crepe paper? A line of glitter was also added before folding the strips.

You CL readers probably noticed that my garland consists of half circles instead of the round versions displayed in the magazine... Somehow I missed the part in the directions about how the accent papers were supposed to be glued down the middle of your main piece. Trust me - after the amount of time I spent making the strips of paper that still needed to be fan folded, attached to a pipe cleaner "chain," embellished with zigzag cut alphabet circles of my design (i.e. no template was made available on the magazine's website) with glitter accents (I almost lost it when I realized that the magazine version included glitter on the letters), there was no way in heck I was starting over. So half circles it is.

I guess in relation to the garland, I guess the other projects weren't that bad. The hats were fun to make

[Mr. Franklin (I think?), an old Avon cologne bottle, was found at the thrift store this month.]

After losing any ambition to make a wreath from scratch following the never ending garland project, I visited Michaels on July 5th and was ecstatic to find Martha's star kit in sale for 50% off (I believe a hallelujah may have escaped my lips)

The firecrackers were also fun to make

I was a little peeved, though, at the suggestion that the cute red and white striped and polka dot crepe paper used in the magazine could be found at Paper Source. It wasn't at my nearest store, and it is not online. For something that makes a project so unique for purposes of a magazine layout, and may be the inspiration for a reader to try the project out, it would be nice to list the exact source for the materials - not just refer the readers to a place that in general sells paper. I used whatever paper I had on hand to make my firecrackers, and images from the Country Living website.

My "branches" this month are felt stars (Joanns) embellished with glitter and glued to dowels

and, finally, a little newspaper posy holder

Now that it's done, I am liking everything a lot more. This display definitely makes me appear more patriotic than I -er- probably am. Don't get me wrong - I'm proud to be an American and all that, but usually I do not display my patriotism so blatantly. BT's first comment upon seeing the finished display: So I guess we're not watching TV this month (the purchased red, white and blue bows hang down pretty far). Yup - another proud American.


Cindy said...

Oh my gosh where do I start? First of all your display is amazing. I don't know how you did it all! It is all simply wonderful! I too was so disappointed about the crepe paper---not only could it not be found there (Paper Source), they acted like I was crazy for asking. To have big sheets would have been so helpful for the firecrackers. I wanted to make that garland. I actually like it better the way you did it---looks like bunting. I am definitely making it next year. If I had half a brain I would make in NOW for next year instead of waiting until the night before! I am impressed with the hats----especially that you were able to understand the instructions online! I love Martha's star. Oh I wish I had visited Michael's!!!
Great job Jen!!!!!!!

Ali said...

BT's comment cracks me up! I love your displays.

And glue gun burna re just part of the deal every time I switch the thing on. I'm just too impatient.

Gina said...

Wow, that stuff looks fantastic!!! It's just so amazing! Happy fourth to you too.

Sarah and Jack said...

I think it looks pretty darn good!

That striped crepe paper (and any dotty stuff) was not to be had anywhere around here, so I made none of them. I think that honestly it took me so darn long to make my own liberty banner (which I did before I saw the magazine) that it was all out of my system already! LOL

jungle dream pagoda said...

I love this display! I think the garland is the best part!The half circles are probably better than whole circles,and that last sweet lil gal? Adorable!

telfair said...

If you're not an expert crafter, I don't know what one of those is.

Your displays are always mind-blowing! If I did a display, I would probably run out of steam halfway through, and we'd be looking at Easter stuff around Christmas of the following year.


Heidi said...

Jen, I could have written this post myself, no kidding! My mom and I attempted to make the rosettes when I was at her house last week. Yes, it took us days and days. We'd get started only to find a roadblock each time. I can't tell you how often we cursed the idiot craft editor at CL--would it kill them to hire a technical writer or something? Those instructions were beyond vague. We cut a whole round of crepe paper before realizing our estimated measurements were totally off.

We tried cutting the blue paper with paper pinking shears but tossed that idea out the window immediately and instead bought a pinking blade for the rotary cutter--worked like a dream. My mom also had the brilliant idea to use glitter glue instead of the glass glitter & white glue I had brought along and that was much easier.

We got all of the rosettes for my mom's set made, but couldn't figure out how to glue the loops to the back so they'll hang right. I got as far as getting all my paper stacks glued but I still have to pleat them, and a few got destroyed on the car trip home yesterday so I'll have to remake them.

I KWYM about the striped paper--Sarah and I were looking for it too with no luck. Just another thing that made me cranky about that article! Paper Source doesn't even carry crepe paper--when you search their website it gives you tissue paper instead. Not the same thing! Not to mention that the URL they gave in the article was wrong.

Anyway, after all that, your stuff turned out great and I absolutely love your display!

elizabeth said...

oh i am sooooo jealous of how purty your display is.

its simply stunning. now are you going to leave this up thru labor day or will you be wow-ing us between then???

African Kelli said...

wow! look at you go. That is so great! And tell the boy that it is time to go outside. Summer tv watching is the worst!

T=ME said...

MS would be so proud of you. How beautiful.

Jane said...

Love it all! The best part will be the thrill next year when you unpack all these goodies and sit down to admire the hard work from a year's distance!

rohanknitter said...

Your display is amazing!!
Every project I think is going to be easy usually turns into a nightmare for me, so I feel your pain. It really did turn out great ,though.

That brownie recipe sounds great, thanks!

beki said...

Hee hee, at least it all looks fabulous!

Julie K in Taiwan said...

I love all your displays and this one is no exception!

scrappintrish said...

OOOH, I am drooling! You are the best! These are the most beautiful things I have EVER seen. They are wonderful! Yes, they took a lot of time but let me just tell you, it was SO worth it! I love doing crafts but if something takes to long I tend to forget about it. lol.. Beautiful work!

Rebecca said...

Hi Jen! Wow, I am waaaaaay late in saying this but AWESOME JOB, GIRL! Seriously, these look super. Your display is perfect for all of your projects. Firecrackers being my fav I think.